By Tylie Prince
February 28, 2020
Riversink Elementary held its fourth annual Black History Program on February 28, coordinated by third-grade teacher Pam Anderson.
The program included two inspirational speakers, quotes from well-known African-American individuals recited by students in each grade level, and a performance by the Wakulla Dance Team.
Artwork and projects completed by students honoring African-American achievements were displayed via PowerPoint before the program began.
Speakers for the event were Darryl Hall, Deputy Chief of Operations for Leon County EMS, and Sergeant First Class Marshall E. Barron Sr., who retired after serving in the military for 22 years. Mr. Hall told his story first, emphasizing for students the importance of family, notably his father, in his own life.
Additionally, he said that we must be careful not to jump to conclusions about people based on the color of their skin, encouraging students to, “Make sure we know someone before we think we know them.”
Mr. Hall loves living a life of service to others. He also said, “It takes hard work; there’s no substitute for it,” reminding students that they can get where they want to be if they work hard for it.
Sergeant First Class Marshall E. Barron Sr. spoke next, giving students a background of his childhood, growing up in Tuscaloosa, AL, and being in the foster care system. He joined the Army after school and traveled the world. His career ended after 22 years in the military, and he faced moments of feeling like an outsider after returning home.
Mr. Barron included students in his discussion by asking them what Black History Month meant to them, and several students responded. One response that stood out was that “Many have died and worked hard for civil rights.”
In conclusion, Mr. Barron noted several instrumental African-Americans whom he admires, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Obama.
The Wakulla Dance Team, led by WHS teacher Mrs. Webb, performed a dance for students that was metaphorical for Harriet Tubman’s path to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Students, teachers, and parents all enjoyed hearing from the speakers and performers.
“The goal of the RES annual Black History Program is that students will be impacted by the contributions of our African-American citizens and understand the great importance of their history,” says RES Principal Simeon Nelson.